It’s late–well, technically it’s only late in preschool time, but the sun is gone, the sky is black and the moon is high, and that’s enough in a four-year old’s mind to be the witching hour. I’m looking out the window in hopes is seeing something worthwhile. There’s a stillness in the air, and then a tiny snowflake. At first just one, small and white as it flutters down from now where to the ground, anticipation incarnate. And then it happens.
Cricket has been asleep for a while now, but I know Emma Vance is still rustling around in her bed as she prays for her wishes to come true. Her little legs are probably flailing about, unable to reach that perfect temperature of cold-but-cozy, as she repeatedly flips her pillow in search of the same balance. I’m patient, waiting for the perfect momentum of progress outside and eagerness inside. When there’s enough of a thin blanket to be visible, I slip into her dark room and scoop her up for a surprise. I’ve got something for her to see.
“Is it a lollipop?”
“Oooh! Is it hot chocolate with marshmallows? The tiny ones?”
I shuffle down the stairs carefully with my growing child grasping my neck.
No, sweet one. Just wait. What did you pray for tonight?
And then she sees it, white and already glittering on our back deck.
“SNOW! It snowed!”
She scrambles down from my arms and clumsily tries to turn the doorknob with two hands. The door is flung open and she’s squealing. Barefoot and woefully underdressed in thin cotton pajamas two sizes too small, her ankles are showing, her belly too, but she couldn’t care less. Childhood is impervious to the cold.
Spoons and bowls are begged for, fresh snow scooped and heaped giddily. Emma Vance dances in and out of the kitchen to the back porch, taking momentary breaks as the chattering of her toothy grin and her red fingers and toes start to make their argument against the cold.
She couldn’t be happier, and so me either.
See, sweet girl, God does hear your prayers, and He answers them, too, even in the dark of night, one tiny snowflake at a time.